Does your kid know how to subitize? (I’ll teach you all about it in this dinosaur preschool math activity!)
Your kids will LOVE this dinosaur preschool math activity
In the preschool world, there are a handful of themes that a teacher knows will always be guaranteed hits.
Bugs. Pirates. Fall. Community helpers. DINOSAURS.
Dinosaurs just make everything better, and this activity is a tried-and-true hit.
Related: Keep the dinosaur coloring fun going with one of our GIANT dinosaur coloring pages!
This dinosaur preschool math activity has it all
It has action, creating, counting, writing…and drawing spikes on dinosaurs!
The best part? It’s beyond easy to set up.
You can have this activity ready to rock and roll within minutes of reading this quick overview.
Looking for more dinosaur activities? We love these:
- Dinosaur Directed Draw + FREE Printable – Friends Art Lab
- Dinosaur Rescue Sensory Bin – Busy Toddler
- Hatch a Baking Soda Dinosaur Egg – STEAM Powered Family
Friends Art Lab is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more about these links in my disclosure policy.
Note: sometimes I do this on 12″ x 18″ papers, others on smaller, and sometimes on a white table covered in butcher paper.
Do what feels right for you!
First, draw the dinosaur bodies on the white paper.
LISTEN, we aren’t trying to get these dinosaurs in the Louvre. 😂 I’ll show you how to draw super basic shapes that look dinosaur-ish.
To you, the dinosaurs might not look like the most dinosaur-y dinosaurs you’ve ever seen in your life to you, BUT TO YOUR KIDS?! Best dinosaurs they’ve ever seen.
Alright, *poof* you now have dinosaur-drawing confidence.
Now, draw your darling dinosaurs.
Next, invite your child to roll the die + to draw spikes
When they roll, invite them to name the number of dots showing and then draw the same number of spikes on any dinosaur of their choosing.
To extend the learning, you can also:
- Invite your child to color the spikes in (extra fine motor)
- Write the number in the middle of the dinosaur’s body
- Roll two dice at a time and add them up
- Roll two dice at a time and subtract
- Invite your child to draw the spikes in a pattern
What was that word? Subitizing?
I’ll explain it with an example of how you already do it.
If I were to stand in front of you and say, “Tell me how many fingers you see when I hold my hand up” and then I held up 5 fingers, you would instantly say, “5!”
You would do the same thing if I held up all 10 fingers.
That is subitizing.
Subitizing is knowing the quantity of something without counting each item.
If you saw me holding 10 fingers, you’d immediately say “10.” You wouldn’t need to count each finger, going 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, then 10.
Why do we teach subitizing to kids?
In short, it’s an essential skill for math and life.
In length, subitizing is an immediate way of knowing quantities in the world. We use subitizing when we
- See someone hold up their fingers
- Identify the number of dots on a die or domino
- Quickly estimate the size of a group
- Understand the number of items in a particular space
We subitize all day long.
For example, as I type this, out of my peripheral, I know I have three drinks on my desk (coffee, water, and sparkling water).
Accurately knowing quantity without needing to count sequentially is not only a math skill but a vital life skill.
And, by playing dice games, we give kids extra opportunities to practice this skill through something fun and engaging!
It depends on the child! Some of our three-year-old preschoolers would have found this incredibly easy, and some of our five-year-old preschoolers would have found this to be a perfect challenge.
ANY! The size doesn’t matter (and in fact, it’s fun to this small and large).
You can either scaffold and do it with them, or wait until it’s developmentally appropriate for their needs.
Grab your dice + markers and try this dinosaur preschool math activity!
And if your kid is especially interested in this game, it’s easy to do this with different animals.
Instead of drawing dinosaur spikes, you could draw tiger stripes, cat whiskers, octopus legs, etc.